Monday, December 16, 2013

Temple Visit and Ward Christmas Party

In front of the Sao Paulo Temple with Elder Despain from the MTC 
Address and Email -- send a Christmas Greeting to Elder Andrew Schwartz:

Elder Andrew Schwartz
Rua Dr. Luiz da Rocha Miranda
159, 8 Andar
Parque Jaabaquara
04344 - 010
São Paulo - SP;Brazil

Dear Everyone!

Thanks so much for the great letter!  I'm really excitied to talk to you guys this next week! I'm glad that everyone is doing well and staying busy. So the package that you guys sent has arrived, but unfortunately it got taken away by the government, and I'm gonna have to go to the mission office and fill out some paper work and pay a fee. (Dad says, "Oops!")  I'm just happy to know that at least it got here, because some of the other missionaries haven't been so lucky.

So this past week has been filled with so many activities, and it has gone by so fast that I can't believe that it's already Monday!  Like I mentioned last week, we got a chance to go to the temple this week, (we go every 3 months) and it was amazing as always.  It was good because I got to see a lot of old friends that are serving in other zones.  It was a really good way to start off the week.  Another cool thing that we did this week, was that the Sisters in São Caetano 2 set up a little sports night activity, and we went to help out and organize.  It turned out to be a really good and successful activity.  We are planning on doing another one this upcoming week, and everyone that went said they were going to bring all of their friends, so hopefully it will start to grow and we will be able to contact many new people to teach. 

This week we worked a lot with Diego's family and we worked a lot with Paula and Johnny.  We had a lot of really good lessons with each of them. We also went around this week and tried to invite everyone we could to our ward Christmas party. On Saturday we had English Class, and we also invited all of the students to the ward party, and they all showed up!  It was really sweet to see them all there.  When the party actually happened, it was a really good success. It was not only really fun, but it was also really spiritual. Some of the men from the ward gave an awesome presentation dressed up as sheperds from the time of Christ's birth, and gave a powerful message. 

Students from English class came to the ward Christmas party

Ward member dresses up as shepherds giving a Christmas message

Food, Glorious Food!

Well, I'm sorry that this letter is so short and I'm running out of time but I just want you all to know that I love you all and I know that the work that Nate and I are doing is the Lord's work.  Next week, I won't be able to email you guys because I'll be talking to you guys on Christmas and I am super excited!!!  Until the 25th!

Elder Schwartz   

La Reina -- Greatest Zone Ever

Zone Jerseys
Elder Nate Schwartz -- send him a Christmas Greeting by email or snail mail

Elder Nathaniel Schwartz
Chile Santiago EAST Mission
Cristobal Colón 6824
Las Condes, Casilla 27.144
Santiago, Región Metropolitana


Dear Family!

This week was really good!  Very busy!  We had a zone conference on Wednesday, a meeting from about 9am to 4pm,and our zone did the musical number `"Creo en Cristo" (I beleive in Christ).  I think we did a pretty good job -- we seriously have the coolest zone ever.  The zone conference was a blast -- I learned A TON from President and Hna Wright.  I always do at those conferences -- they're like spiritual boosts that we get.  On Sunday we did two really cool things:  First, we did a zone choir and sang at the metro station -- it was a big success, and the zone loved it.  But more importantly, so did the public -- lots of people stayed and watched and listened -- we took turns contacting the people, talking to them, passing out pass-along cards and such.  It was a nice time, even though it was really, really hot.  Second, in the evening we went to a special choir performance at the temple, with special musical guest Elder David Archuelta.  We went with Mercedez, and she really seemed to enjoy it.  The place was JAM PACKED, but we were actually able to find her a seat, and we stood in the back, still with a really good view of the show, though.

See a video clip of Elder David Archuleta singing at Christmas Show

On Saturday we had to do the pension (apartment) inspections.  Elder Sercovich and I spent the morning touring the zone and seeing if the missionaries' apartments were neat and tidy.  Of course, the sister missionaries did a much better job than the elders, as you can probably imagine.   We also made zone jerseys so we gave those out to everyone, and they really liked them.  I'll be sure to send you a photo of Elder Sercovich and me in our jerseys.

We found Claudio again this week, and I'll be sure to fill you guys in on his story in a little more detail during our Christmas call.  We are working a lot with less actives and just trying our best to get the members involved in the work.  We are seeing really good results.  The members have lots of power in missionary work, and I think that many of them don't even recognize it.  

Oh, also, at the temple on Sunday, I ran into Edith and Daniel from Geronimo (my first area), and that was SO SO SO SO SO SO AWESOME.  That was probably the greatest reunion ever, and they actually know Elder Sercovich too.  I'll fill you guys in on that too during the Christmas call.  As you can see, I'm really excited to talk to you guys.

I am passing a very happy, very warm Christmas here with Elder Sercovich -- just trying our best to spread Christmas cheer with everyone here in La Reina, and help them to understand the true meaning of Christmas.  I love Christmas season in the mission because I feel like as a missionary, as a representative of Jesus Christ, during the Christmas season we are closer to Him than ever.  It's like all starting to click in my head, what Christmas is really all about.  I hope that we can all enjoy this Christmas in the way that our Savior would like us to.  Thank you all for your love and support and I can't wait to hear from you again soon. Feliz Navidad.

With much love,
Elder Schwartz

Mote con Huesillo

cool zone jersey -- everyone in the zone gets one!



Monday, December 9, 2013

100 degrees at Christmas Time!?!

Visiting the Temple in Santiago -- It is warm summer time there!
Dear Family,

Wow, I´m sorry to hear that Uncle Neal (Stacy Moffitt's dad Neal Hopkins) passed away, but it makes me happy to hear that everoyne is peaceful and in comforted spirits about it.  It sounds like you guys all had a really evenful week, and its good to hear that Phil is helping out with wrestling too -- I know that he loves doing that.

This week was actually a really really good week for Elder Sercovich and me.  We were very busy, and we taught a few more lessons than last week.  And it is SO HOT HERE!  It's kind of hard to celebrate Christmas in 100 degree heat, but oh well -- we need to make the best with what we have, I guess.  All of the houses are decorated with Christmas lights and plastic snowflakes, anyways.  Let's see.....  Elder Sercovich and I had a leadership meeting on Tuesday with President and all of the zone leaders -- those are always fun.  And then, we taught a class to the zone on Thursday, and those are always a lot of fun -- I really love those, as well.  And I think the reason why I love them so much is because I have the coolest zone in the whole world -- they are all really hard workers and Elder Sercovich and I are seeing lots and lots of progress in them.  We also got permission to form a zone chior and we will be performing at zone conference on Wednesday, and then we are going to a metro station on Sunday to sing christmas carols.  That should be a lot of fun -- they are all really excited for that.  Elder Sercovich and I have been finding new families and people to teach and that has been really cool.  We are trying our best to work with names given to us from the ward and to work with references from the members, and it has been working really well actually.

Mercedez is still doing really well, Claudio too.  We have been teaching Mercedez and Walter in members' homes for the past several visits, and we have been seeing the fruits of that when Mercedez goes to church -- she has friends there now, and people to sit with and talk to, and that helps a lot.  I think that the miracle of the week happened on Sunday as well.  For the past several weeks we have been teaching a less active family, the Pavez family, and they have not been coming to church for about 10 years.  They were a referral given to us from a neighboring member family.  Well, long story short, they came to church yesterday and it was awesome.  They had a greally good time -- lots of members recognized them and chatted with them, but they key to getting them to come back was simply bringing a member to the lesson the night before.  We visited Hna Pavez and her daughter with our ward mission leader and a ward missionary and they hit it off really really well.  The ward missionary (Hna Salas) did a really good job, too.  I feel like I keep learning the same lesson over and over again -- that if someone wants to be a successful missionary he or she NEEDS to work with the members -- there is no other way to do it.  

Dad, I am happy to hear that you are reading Everyday Missionaries.  President Wright was actually just talking about that book the other day.  I'll be sure to read it when i get back.  Oh, also, we went on a temple tour with Mercedez this week and that was a really good time. 

Anyways, i just want you all to know that I love you very much.  Thank you for your great examples, and for your love and for your support.  Keep on being amazing people and guiding lights for those around you. 

 Until next week, with love,

Elder Schwartz

Elder Schwartz sleeping...
Delicious Chilean Fast Food
Elder Sercovich and Elder Schwartz
Celebrating Elder Sercovich's Birthday at Hard Rock
Painting a house for service with Elder Sercovich
With Elder Schade 

Baptism of Nisi and Leticia

Nisi and Leticia's Baptismal Service.  Pres. and Sister Tanner were able to attend.
Dear Family!

Man, this week has been pretty rushed, but it was also very blessed. I'm sorry to hear about Uncle Neal (Stacy Moffitt's dad Neal Hopkins passed away this last week). He was always such a bright spirit and a kind man. I'm happy to know about the plan that God has for us, and the knowledge that we have that this life isn't the end, but that we all have the blessing to live with our families forever.  It's good to hear that you guys are staying busy, and that you guys are happy.

This week, like I said, has been pretty rushed. I got the chance to do a division with Elder Steil because we both had to go to a training for the district leaders, and I got a chance to do a division with Elder Dogget and work a little bit in their area. It's been pretty crazy, but I have learned SO MUCH this week.  I forgot how good of a missionary Elder Steil is, because when we were together, I could feel the power. It was also good because we already know how to teach with each other, and we're already good friends.  But what was really amazing was the training that we got from President Tanner and the Assistants.  I learned so so so much and I realized I have to repent and be a way better district leader.  It's not that I think I'm a terrible district leader but there's just so many things that I'm going to work on to help our district be the best district in the mission!

So, this week we focused a lot on preparing Nisi and Leticia for baptism so they would be super ready.  We had their baptism on Saturday, and it was probably one of the best experiences I've had on the mission.  Like all baptisms, it seemed like everything was going to go wrong.  We were late to fill up the font, and while we were having our baptism, the other ward was having a christmas party so we couldn't use the sacrament room. But as with all baptisms, everything also seemed to work out perfectly.  We had all the members help and pitch in as we started to fill up buckets with water and toss it in the font and we got a hose to help fill up the font faster.  All in all, everything went fantastic. President and Sister Tanner even showed up to our baptism and stayed there for the whole meeting.  It was an amazing experience and probably not one that I'm going to ever forget. 

After the baptism. We got to help out with the Christmas party for the other ward and we got to eat some really great brazillian barbeque.  Then on Sunday, it seemed like everything was going to go wrong again because Nisi wasn't there when the meeting started.  I got really nervous and started praying really hard until I got this calm, peaceful feeling that everything would be alright.  My prayers were answered as our Ward Mission Leader directed us to go out back and help Nisi into the sacrament room.  Nisi and Leticia were able to be confirmed and received the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Well, my time is running out, but I just want all of you to know that I know that this Church is true, and I love it out here, serving the people of Brazil. Tomorrow we get to go to the temple and I am super excited!   So, next week, expect some pictures.  I love you all and I hope everyone has a great week!

Elder Schwartz

Ward member helping to fill the baptismal font


Elder Fernandes and Barbeque

Elder Schwartz and some great brazilian food

Friday, December 6, 2013

Thanksgiving Pizza

Young Brazilian, Caique, who is called to serve in Santiago Chile East mission (where Elder Nate is)

Dear Family!

It's so good to hear that Mom and Phil made it home safe and sound. It sounds like everyone had a busy week and a lot of fun!  Thanks for all the pictures of family and everything.  I'm a little jealous that I missed out on a good ol' Thanksgiving dinner, but, Elder Fernandes and I had our own Thanksgiving party and bought ourselves a pizza. 

So this past week has been really busy and we have been working really hard. It's the start of a new transfer and Elder Fernandes and I have cracked down and wrote down a few names that we are really gonna focus on and help to prepare for baptism this transfer.  I'm really excited and I think we're gonna work miracles in this area.  I guess the biggest highlight of this past week was we had stake conference which had a big focus on missionary work.  The sessions were held in the stake center, which happens to be in Planalto, so I got the chance to go back to my first area and see a lot of the members and people that I worked with before.  The stake president invited us to go to all sessions and in these sessions he introduced some ways to get all of the members involved in missionary work.  One suggestion he made was giving out a paper that the members fill out with names and addresses of friends, neighbors, and aquaintances and the members are to pray about this list and focus on two or three families that they can invite over for a dinner and introduce them to the missionaries.  It was a really inspiring conference and I hope that it got all of the members excited and ready to do some missionary work.

We are still continuing to work with Nisi and Leticia. We have an interview set for them on Friday, so if everything goes right, they will both be baptized on Saturday. We had a really good lesson with Nisi this past week where we talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  She understands the doctrine really well and she definitely has been prepared by the Lord wayyyyy before we started to teach her. 

We also got the chance to talk to Barbara's mom about letting us teach her and she said that if Barbara goes to church and feels good about it and that she really wants to commit to it, then she can be baptized.  So we are going to continue to work with her. Not only Barbara, but we also started teaching Diego's older sister, Larissa. We were able to teach her about the Restoration and she agreed to study and pray about what we have been teaching her.  We are really excited to work with both of them and help them come closer unto Christ.

Sorry this letter is a little short but I'm running out of time and I still have to write President Tanner.   I just want all of you to know that I'm loving it out here in Brazil and there is nothing I would rather be doing with my life than what I'm doing right now.  I love you all and I hope everyone has a great week next week! 

Elder Schwartz

With previous companion, Elder Steil

Thanksgiving Feast -- Chilean Style!

Thanksgiving Feast
Looks pretty yummy! 
Dear Family and Friends.....

I know you arent going to like this, but this is going to be a really really short email...... We tried out this new cyber cafe closer to our apartment, and it closes in 10 minutes........ Just my luck!

This past week was excellent, and it seems like yours was too.  Yes, we DID celebrate our Thanksgiving here -- a member of the bishobric and our ward mission leader got together and made us a feast in the chapel on Friday night to celebrate a late Thanksgiving, and it really was an amazing experience for all of us there.  We showed those Chileans how we do it up there in the States.  I'll be sure to attach a few photos.

This past week was a really stressful one for Elder Sercovich and me.  We had a lots of lessons failing, lots of time walking in the sun, contacting, everything.  We had a few really great lessons, and little daily miracles, though.  What I love about Elder Sercovich is that no matter what the circumstance is, he never gets down, he`s always walking with a smile and a joke, and that really helps me out a lot as a missionary -- not to get down either.

This upcoming week is going to be a very very busy one, and I am really excited for that.  Lots of meetings to attend and classes to teach, and I will be sure to give you all a much more detailed update on it this next week.

Its great to hear that Phil and Mom made it home safely, and thank you so much for the photos, i really love those.

Sorry for the shortness of the email, i just want you all to know that I love you, and that I know that the church is true, and that if we draw closer to the Lord through prayer and scripture study, He will draw closer to us as well.  I felt very thankful this Thanksgiving as i sat in the chapel thousands of miles away from home but still surrounded by people who love me and care for me.  I hope that you all have a great week.  

I love you all!

Elder Schwartz

Not all familiar fare, but looks awesome


Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving from Santiago!

Dear Everyone!

Well first of all, thank you for the pictures.  It looks like youre all having a really good trip, and it's great to hear that you (Dad) made it back to good ol´ Martinez safely.  This week went by really really crazy fast for Elder Sercovich and me.  We had to do divisions twice, and we had interviews, and district class, and an activity yesterday too.  Lots to do, lots to do, but I like it that way.  I get back to the apartment gassed every night, but that's the way that the mission is supposed to be, right?

So, we did divisions with the Assistants.  I stayed here in Tobalaba with Elder Espinoza, and Elder Sercovich went to the office with Elder Schade, and I learned SO MUCH during those 24 hours.  Elder Espinoza is an awesome missionary and example, and he knows really well how to zero in on the needs of the people.  He did a really good job of using inspired questions as he taught, something that I feel like I could get a lot better at as a teacher.  Oh, and Elder Espinoza is Chilean; I think that was the first time that I have been with a Chilean companion since i got here!  The other divisions we did was with Todd's cousin, Sallys nephew, Elder Bushman, and let me tell you, that boy is one heck of a missionary!  I am very happy to have him as a district leader in the zone.  He´s a great example to me, a really good teacher and a really good friend, too.  

So, on Thursday we had interviews with the President, and those are always great moments.  I love talking to President and Hna Wright -- they both gave me some really good advice.  Annnnd on Sunday, we did this thing called a sector slam, where all of us missionaries from the zone La Reina go to one ward and visit people.  It was a well organized activity, with maps and lists of peoples addresses and everything, and all of us missionaries went on divisions with the youth from the ward, and that was especially fun, I went with a 17 year old named Diego who is preparing for a mission, a really good kid.

Walter and Mercedez are doing great, we actually had a couple of really good lessons with them this week, including one in the house of our new ward mission leader, Hno Soto.  They are both progressing really well, but their one really big roadblock that's impeding them from being able to be baptized, is legal issues with a prior marraige that need to be sorted out before Mercedez and Walter can get married.... That's always difficult.  

All in all, it was a good week.  Elder Sercovich and I are getting along really well, and we have a great time together.  This area is amazing too -- I really couldn't be happier.  I love you all -- have a great week -- the church is true!


Elder Schwartz

With an awesome Brazilian guy -- "El Negro"


Friends from BYU

With Elder Dusty


Dear Family!

Thanks so so much for the awesome email!  It sounds like you guys are having a blast on the east coast. You guys are gonna have to take me and Nate to Harry Potter World, too when we get back.  But seriously, I'm glad that you guys are having a good time.  So we got transfer news this morning, and it turns out that Elder Fernandes and I are gonna stay for another transfer together, which we expected because I'm still training him; so that was no surprise to us. 

Well, this week had its ups and downs. Unfortunately, Elder Fernandes got sick with a virus, so for the majority of the week we were in our house.  So unfortunately, we weren't able to do that much missionary work this week, but we managed to have some pretty awesome lessons when we did get back out.  Don't worry because he is starting to feel a lot better now.

We had the opportunity to teach Diego's little sister, Barbara, and she is awesome. We were able to teach her about the Restoration and she loved it. However, the next time we talked to Diego he said that his mom doesn't want her to be baptized, so we are gonna talk with his mom and help her see what a great blessing that this gospel will be in her daughter's life. 

This week we also got the opportunity to teach a woman named Nisi who is a friend of a member in another ward. She is pretty much the most awesome person ever.  When we first talked to her, she told us about these dreams she had when she was little about a church where all the men wore suits and ties and all of the women wore dresses.  She told us about how she had spent most of her life looking for this church.  She told us about how she went to a church for a little bit and it didn't feel right, and then she went to another and didn't feel right, until she got referred to check out the Mormon church. She told us about how she went on and read all of the testimonies of everyone and thought how beautiful it was. Then she started to have those dreams she had like she was little and she started asking around if people knew if there was one of these churches in São Caetano until she got in contact with that member from the other ward.  And then we got in contact with her and we had an awesome lesson.  She accepted a date for baptism December 7th. 

So we are still continuing to work with Wesley. Unfortunately we weren't able to get in contact with him until late in the week and when we did, he started telling us how he's not feeling prepared for baptism. We agreed and we told him that we would like to keep in contact with him more, and introduce him to more members of the ward to help him feel more confortable. We set a goal for him for the 8th of December and we plan on keeping firm contact with him this week and helping him with all of his doubts and needs.

So those are pretty much the highlights of the week. We may not have had the best week but it's the start of a new transfer and Elder Fernandes and I are hungry to tear up this area!  I hope that everyone at home is doing well and that you all know that I love you guys. I know that this work that Nate and I are doing is truly the Lord's work and that we are truly His representatives. Until next week!

Elder Schwartz

Monday, November 18, 2013

São Caetano: Minha Cidade!

São Caetano: My City!

Dear Family!

WOW! It sure sounds like you guys are staying busy and having a lot of fun on the east coast!  Make sure to give the family my love!  Everything over here in the south side is going fantastic as always. We have a saying here: só alegria.  Which means "just joy" and that's basically what the mission is: só alegria!  But that's good to hear that everyone is doing well and is happy.

Man this past week has been so crazy but it was really good and I learned a lot. Unfortunately, we had a few days where we literally could not get into one house to teach a lesson, but that doesn't get us down.  We just count our blessings, look forward, and keep working hard with a smile on our faces.  Let's me see if I can give some highlights of the week.  Well, this week Elder Fernandes and I had the opportunity to go to a little conference for the new missionaries with President and Sister Tanner, and the assistants giving the training.  The trainings were SO GOOD and I learned so much!  It was really cool too because I got to see Elder Watt again and some sisters from my district in the MTC.  Oh, that's another thing.  So one of the sister companionships in my district had a trial missionary, and she got her mission call, and went back home to prepare, so a sister from my district in the MTC, Sister Duncan, is now in my district.  So that's pretty cool. 

Also this week, I had the opportunity to do a division with Elder Doggett, one of the zone leaders, and do a baptismal interview for him in his area while Elder Iorg stayed with Elder Fernandes to do a baptismal interview for Wesley.  This is where the crazy stuff happens.  So we planned just to do the interviews on Friday and switch back Saturday morning.  But what ended up happening was that Elder Iorg and Elder Fernandes weren't able to get in contact with Wesley because our phone ran out of minutes, and they couldn't get the interview done on Friday.  So what happened was that I used the Zone Leaders phone to call him and his mom picked up and said that he wasn't available until 6:00 p.m. the next day. So we extended the division until they were able to do the interview with him the next day.  They were able to interview him and unfortunately he didn't pass, but Elder Iorg made some goals with him, and is going to follow up with him and he will most likely be baptized this next Sunday. 

So that's pretty much all the crazy stuff that happend this week.  I had a lot of really good experiences with Elder Doggett in their area.  They are working with a lot of really good people.  I was able to do an interview with a woman named Laura whose children got baptized a few weeks ago. It took her a little while longer because she had a problem, but she resolved it and she is really happy that she is finally ready and worthy to be baptized. 

Well that's pretty much my week. It had it's ups and downs but hey, that's part of the mission right? I just want all of you to know that I am super happy to be out here doing the Lord's Work, and helping other people make changes in their lives so they can have more peace and happiness in their lives.  I know this church is truly the Church of Jesus Christ on the earth!  I love you all and I hope everyone has a good week next week. 

With Love,
Elder Schwartz

Elder Fernandes in Sao Caetano

Elder Holland's Visit

Elder Holland came to Santiago last week

Dear Family,

I am sorry but this is probably going to be the shortest letter that I ever write you, I opened my inbox today, and I was amazed to see all of the emails that I had received, so I took a long time writing to everyone.  Todd, and Andrew, and Anthony, and Grandma wrote me!  I sure felt loved.  It is great to hear that you made it back east safely, and that you are having a great time out there.  Thank you for the pictures too!

This week was super, SUPER good!  Mercedez and Walter are doing great, same with Claudio.  Claudio actually came to church this Sunday, that was really cool.  It was the primary program, and both he and Mercedez really enjoyed that.  Like I think I said earlier, we are now starting to teach Mercedez´s boyfriend, Walter.  We actually taught him a lesson with President Wright this week, which was super cool, and we helped him out with a little service on Saturday morning.  Then they made us a KILLER lunch; Peruvian food is SO GOOD.  This past Wednesday we had the monthly meeting with the stake president and President Wright, which went really well.

Okay, the Elder Holland experience was AMAZING.  We got to the chapel at 5am to make sure that we got good seats.  Actually, our whole zone was there before 6am, and the meeting started at 9:30.  We all have the front two rows, it was awesome!  He did an AMAZING job.  It wasn't the first time that I had heard him speak, but this time it really impressed and moved me, probably because I have the tag on.  I need to know and love the Book of Mormon even more than I do right now -- that was the biggest thing that I learned.  So I left the meeting committed to improve.  It's so interesting because every time I leave a meeting with a general authority, I just feel so good, like anything is possible, that the sky is the limit -- it is so cool!  I know that Elder Holland is a man called of God, without a doubt.

Anyways, I would love to go into more detail about the week -- it really was an awesome one, but I am totally running out of time.  Just know that I love you, and that I miss you, but I am having an amazing experience here, and that I know that the church is true.  Thank you all for your love and support, and thoughts and prayers.

I look forward to hearing for you again next week.

with much love,
Elder Schwartz

Friday, November 15, 2013

Elder Sercovich...From Peru

Good Bye, Elder Sandoval

Welcome, Elder Sercovich

Dear Family,

What an eventful week!  And thank you so much for the pictures!  It is great to hear/see that the family is doing so well.  Wow!  You guys sure do know how to keep busy!  And wow!  Time is going by so fast!  I can’t believe that the Dolls are already home, and that Phil is finishing up his time at Americorp!  And Thanksgiving is in two weeks!  Do you guys have any big plans?  

To answer some of your questions, my missionary service will be ending on April 21st.  I think it would be best for you guys to come on the really early on the 20th or maybe even the 19th, to be able to attend church on Sunday morning in my ward (which will probably be Tobalaba, where I am at now).  But we can work out all of the details from there, or over Skype in December.

As for my week -- Super good!  Elder Sercovich and I hit it off super well!  I know that we have only been together for a week, but I feel like we have known each other for much longer than that.  It’s pretty cool.  Lets see, lets see...... He is from Peru, my 3rd Peruvian companion in the mission, which is great because they know how to work hard.  He is an only child, and he is 26 years old.  His father passed away when he was only four.  He has an amazing testimony.  He goes home in January.  His last name is Sercovich, because his great-grandfather moved to Peru from Serbia.  

Elder Sercovich and I spent a lot of time this week working with people from the ward list, and we have had a lot of success with that.  We are putting our main focus in finding new investigators.  We have been spending a lot of time in the street talking to lots and lots of people.  We have been spending some more time with the ward leaders as well, which has been fun.  Mercedez is doing well; really well actually.  This past week we started teaching her boyfriend Walter, and they are both progressing really well.  They are seriously SO COOL!  They just need to get married!   That’s kind of a common problem down here in Chile....well its a problem in the whole world nowadays.  We were able to visit Claudio briefly this week, he is doing okay... really busy with work though....

Elder Sercovich and I taught our monthly zone class on Wednesday, and it went really well.  There were lots of changes in the zone last week, so we are basically working with a brand new zone, but they are all really great missionaries.  Elder Bushman (Todd’s cousin) and Hna. Volkert (from Uncle James ward) stayed in the zone though. which I was happy about.  The class went really well.  The president of the mission is making it really clear that it’s not just a class but more of a council, so we all shared ideas and set goals together, and Elder Sercovich and I facilitated the conversation.  It’s a three hour class but it went by really fast, and I was actually kind of bummed when the time ran out.

I get to see Elder Bonkemeyer (BYU roommate) and Elder Holland tomorrow!  I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures and tell you how it goes!

Dad, I loved how you ended your email with your testimony, especially about the Book of Mormon.  I am almost done with Alma.  I’ve been trying to read 4 chapters a day, sometimes more, sometimes less, but I am seriously learning SO MUCH – It’s unbelievable how much one can learn in just an hour a day of study.  I feel the same way as you described.  I really cannot picture my life now without the Book of Mormon in it, and I don’t want to.  I know that Heavenly Father gave us these tools because he loves us and wants us back with him.  I am so thankful for this knowledge that I have received through putting my faith into action, by reading, by studying, by reflecting, by praying.  I am thankful for the time that I have to help these people here in Chile, and I am thankful for all of your support.  Keep up the good work.  I love you all and can’t wait to hear from you again next week!

With much love,
Elder Schwartz

P.S.  We had lunch with the Relief Society president this week (she is the one who I make the cinnamon roll cake with and she LOVED IT, and now she is basically famous for it).  It’s like her favorite thing to make now, and she made us a batch for dessert!

Relief Society President and Cinnamon Roll Cake 

P.P.S. Carlos is a convert from peru that we are teaching, he is studying gastronomy and he made us a nice little dish after one of our lessons.

Posing with Elder Sercovich